Derry~Londonderry is a city steeped in history and culture. For a city of its size, the choice of things to do and places to see are plenty. From seriously luxurious hotels, a booming food scene, buzzing pub culture and everything in between. Derry-Londonderry is sure to inspire a weekend to remember. The only problem is choosing where to go first. Well, here’s a guide to get you through the gates.

First things first

Finding your home away from home might be a good place to start. The Exquisite Bishop’s Gate Hotel (4*) is a hideaway bursting with vibrant colour, stories and history. In fact, over 200 years of history is carved into its foundations. You’re sure to come away with a few stories of your own as the hotel is ideally located within the historic city walls. The perfect base to explore from.

If you’re looking for something a little more boutique, Shipquay Hotel (4*) is sure to satisfy. Luxurious and intimate, the hotel boasts stunning views of the city’s famous walls. Throw your bags down here and shopping, great food and drink, and a buzzing arts and social scene are all on your doorstep.

Get a good look at Derry-Londonderry

Scope the city and its landmarks on a fun-filled hop-on, hop off tour. Feel the vibes atop a bustling bus and take in the city’s unrivalled setting. Up there, you’ll see it all. From the Peace Bridge to Guildhall to the River Foyle and beyond.

Get thrifty in Derry-Londonderry

After scaling the city walls, lay siege to the city’s retail stronghold. Make your way through the vintage shopping scene for all things unique and unusual. Vinyl, jewellery and handbags can be found at The Yellow Yard, and Bedlam has a collection of clothing, furniture, art and crafts to rival just about anywhere.

One of the coolest places to bargain hunt is the Craft Village, a quaint arcade of small shops, all conveniently bundled together under a glass-covered central square. If the high-street is more your size, Foyleside and Richmond Shopping centres will fit perfectly.

An evening dining experience

Dinner at The Exchange showcases some of the finest local food, right in the heart of the city. If you’re looking for something on the go, street food legend Pyke ‘n’ Pommes down at the Foyle Marina will have you eating in a jiffy.

For something a little more diverse try out Quaywest, a favourite in the city’s vibrant foodie scene. For the trad fans among us, an evening of traditional music at Peadar O’Donnells and Gwendore Bar will have you tapping your foot with a pint of Guinness in hand in no time.

Those with a more eclectic taste can head to Sandines for Latin American Vibes, the intimate Bennigans Bar and Jazz Club or the historical Grand Central Bar.

Wake up to a splash of water

Get up bright and early and embrace the outdoors at Creggan County Park. With three freshwater lakes at your disposal, you’ll be aqua zorbing, pier jumping, wheelyboating, raft building and more. That should wipe the sleep out of your eyes.

Locally produced lunch

After all that splashing about, reward yourself to lunch and grab some locally produced craft beers at the Walled City Brewery. Before that, shake the water out of your hair and take a short stroll across the historic Peace Bridge right outside the brewery. There you can crack into some of our craft beer favourites like ‘Stitch’ and ‘Boom’.

Enter the void

After you’ve digested all that food and beer, saunter through the artist-led contemporary art space Void. Located in an old shirt factory of all places, the Patrick Street galleries and studio spaces showcase the work of established international and Irish artists free of charge. Have a gander for the love of it.

Get going at Guildhall

Start your day off with a tour of the stunning Guildhall. Originally built in 1887, the building has a storied past and has recently been restored fast becoming the backdrop for many events across the city. Inside you’ll find a modern multimedia exhibit surrounded by stunning traditional stained glass.

Get a feel for Free Derry

The iconic Free Derry Corner offers an unmissable Instagram opportunity. Get a snap beside this famous gable wall bearing the ‘You are now entering free Derry’ slogan. Get up close and personal with what has become an enduring image of the city and the Troubles. Delve a little further into the city’s absorbing past at the Siege Museum and Museum of Free Derry.

Say goodbye with Seamus

There’s no better way to cap off your trip to the north west of Northern Ireland than a visit to the Seamus Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy. A must go if you’re literary fan, or just plain curious. Take a journey through the Nobel Laureate’s life, his experiences, and the people that inspired his poetry. (Winner of Most Innovative Business (Large) at the Giant Spirit Awards 2022).

As you can see, you can fit a lot into a short break in Derry ~Londonderry. And these were just a few ideas for inspiration to guide your trip. There’s a lot more they came from.